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The EEOC and retaliation

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued guidelines covering companies in New York and around the country concerning retaliation claims. This is the first set of guidelines published by the EEOC regarding this type of employment complaint since 1998.

In 1998, the agency noted that the most frequent types of claims filed by employees were based upon racial or sexual harassment or discrimination, with retaliation claims constituting 24 percent of the total. By 2015, 45 percent of all claims were based upon retaliation, which made them the most common in that year.

Employer retaliation is when an employer takes adverse action against an employee who engaged in a protected activity. This activity could range from reporting unethical behavior of the employer to the right authorities to voting for a candidate other than the one preferred by the company. Retaliation against the employee for filing an EEOC complaint against the employer is also included in this category.

The EEOC has broadened its definition of adverse actions and has even provided employers with new guidelines on how to handle different situations to avoid making mistakes. However, these guidelines are merely suggestions and are not really enforceable until a complaint has been officially made.

Employees have specific protections under the law from the actions of their employer. Employers cannot discriminate against employees, nor can they take adverse actions against them such as demotion, dismissal, or other actions, for activities that are seen as protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or other federal laws. People who feel that they have been the victim of this type of unlawful behavior may want to meet with an employment law attorney to see what recourse they may have.

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